ARCHIVE: Blog
  • The Collins Method (or Brand Strategy in a Nutshell)

    “Brand strategy” is a flawed phrase. No one understands it; everyone means something different by it. But management researcher Jim Collins defined the core of great brand strategy, based on years of research into how good companies become great ones. His findings encapsulate what every inside-up branding process should strive for.   In his seminal 2001 […]

  • Testing Is from Mars, Prototyping Is from Venus

    Everyone knows that Steve Jobs “didn’t believe in market research.” At the same time, we also know that an Apple product goes through countless iterations before and even after launch. What’s the difference between testing and continuous prototyping? On the one hand: Nothing. Prototyping is a form of testing. And on the other hand? Well, […]

  • Simplifying Through Metaphor

    How do you simplify a complicated business? How do you describe it in a way that people immediately get? This is the central question faced by nearly everyone struggling with an elevator pitch, Career Day at their kids’ school, or questions from strangers at cocktail parties. One deceptively simple answer is: Metaphor. I routinely work […]

  • Why Brands Are Like Indie Bands

    Live music makes my soul shake. In the last few weeks, I’ve danced my can off at shows by Dan Mangan (pictured), Ron Hawkins & The Do Good Assassins, and David Bazan (formerly known as Pedro the Lion). If you’ve never heard of any of these guys, that’s my point. We’re used to thinking about […]

  • How to Get People to Vote (and More)

    As millions go to the polls in the US today, and the future hangs on which party gets more people out to vote, it’s worth thinking about what makes people do so. To understand voting is to understand the psychology of motivation – which is useful both internally in organizations and externally, with customers. A […]

  • The Process of a Master

    Nobody distilled brands like Saul Bass. He designed iconic identities for Bell, AT&T, United Airlines, Minolta, Quaker, Kleenex. Look at any of these logos, and you’ll recognize them immediately, as you would a familiar face — even the ones that haven’t been in use for decades. Bass was also the genius behind Hitchcock’s groundbreaking title […]

  • Ring the Bell Curve

    To resonate, you have to ring the bell curve. The bell curve – or what statisticians call a normal distribution – explains so much of our world. For an amazing number of phenomenon you might measure across large groups of people – from heart attacks to height to preferences to perceptions – most people will […]

  • Just Say It

    Great communication enters the vernacular through the front door. Walking home the other night, I passed a graffiti-covered mailbox with two handbills pasted on it. “MISSING CAT” said the first. A close-up image of a black fluffy cat stared out at me balefully. “PUP AND THE CITY” said the other, with a design that spoofed […]

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